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Group 1 - Magazine Advertising (Topic #3)

Discussion Topic: "Magazine advertisements are NOT beneficial to society." Discuss your position on this ethical issue with your group, and use some of the following questions to help direct the discussion.
  1. What are your position(s) and supporting arguments on this issue? 
  2. How do you evaluate, weigh and balance these arguments in establishing your positions? 
  3. What is the group's "general" position on this issue? 
  4. How would you deal with this issue in the real business world? 
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A drop of blood---Magazine ad
by Daekeun Bae

Once when I was shaving, I had a cut and dropped a blood in the water. Just one drop of blood spread through water immediately and whole water changed its color into pink according to 'Brown phenomenon' in physics. People are reacting just like that water when they face a new magazine advertisement, especially children. Their pure mind gets contaminated with distorted social values by commercial ads in magazine. I am not saying we eradicate whole magazine advertisement. But I am saying about advertiser's responsibility for the effect of advertisement. Before they put ads on magazine, they should be thinking whether it would have a detrimental effect on readers or not. I hope there would be only a drop of medicine instead of a drop of blood in advertisement on magazine.

Daekeun Bae

Posted on May 14 2000, 12:05 AM
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Economic Implications
by Kamen Kolev

I remember the pro-ads group saying that advertising was an industry, created jobs, and promoted economic growth.

However, in a perfect market (I recognize that no market, even the American, is quite perfect yet) there would be no effect, because the cost of all products/services would be reduced by what is now spent on advertising them. As for the people employed in advertising, they would find jobs producing more products to meet the increased demand, now that the products are cheaper.
While it is true that the general impact on GNP would be to reduce its dollar amount, banning ads should also reduce prices of products/services, so as to have a neutral net effect.

Posted on May 11 2000, 03:34 PM
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Lifeblood in business...
by Jay Gil

I am going to introduce general debate here about advertising. I would say that I am strongly agree with proponents' point of view.

Proponents of advertising argue that it is the lifeblood of business-it provides with information about products and services and encourages them to improve their standard of living. They say advertising produces jobs and helps new firms enter the marketplace. Companies employ people who make the products and provide the services that advertising sells. Free market economic systems are based on competition, which revolves around information, and nothing delivers information better and at less cost than advertising.

Critics argue that most advertising is more propaganda than information; it creates needs and faults customers never knew they had. Ads suggest that children wonít succeed without a computer, that our bodies should be leaner, our faces younger, and our houses cleaner. They point to the sultry, scantily clad bodies used in ads to sell everything from perfume to beer to power tools and argue that adverting promotes materialism, insecurity, and greed.

While many laws and regulations determine what advertisers can and cannot do, not every issue is covered by a rule. Marketers must often make decisions regarding appropriate and responsible actions based on ethical considerations rather than on what is legal or within industry guidelines. Ethics are moral principles and values that govern the actions and decisions if an individual or group.

In conclusion, I agree that magazine advertising is self-regulated because magazine is targeting to selective audiences. So, viewers discretion will be needed to eliminate ethical problems concerning advertising.

Posted on May 11 2000, 02:47 PM
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taking responsibility and accountability for our actions
by Vaishalee Patel

But I think we have to remember what Laura said today in class...Sure magazine advertisers do not have very specific laws that tell them what they can and cannot do, but shouldn't they consider the impacts and ramifications of their actions? Should not they step back and see what negative or positive effects they are having on ALL the people affected by the advertisement? Is not that the most ethical behavior on te behalf of the companies? Also, how can we expect that people affected use ethical discretion- should not the company take this step first?

Posted on May 11 2000, 08:19 PM
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Ethical vs. Unethical
by Cassius Moura

Some ads are ethical and some are not. If the unethical ads are viewed by people who are well educated enough and are able to discern between what is wrong or right, I believe there is no problem. However, the problem is that ads may lead some people to believe that certain things are right or wrong.

You are warned about the contents of a movie before watching it, but you are not warned about the contents of an ad before seeing it.

Posted on May 10 2000, 02:20 PM
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Magazine Advertising
by Bob Trucker

Hi Group,
Some thoughts on advertising. I think that Alan had an interesting thought. I know that we are talking about magazine advertising, but look at the way corporations are merging into these huge media conglomerates. Disney owns ABC, NBC is a division of General Electric. Though each of these businesses must operate as an independent entity, do you not think that there is some level of conversation between the home office and the media divisionís president on how they will handle competitive or damaging advertising on their networks or national magazines? In fact, I know that on at least one occasion, Michael Eisner of Disney, contacted the president of ABC and made them stop running advertising and stories that were negative to Disney. For Disney, image is everything, and they will do anything to protect that image.

Regarding advertising and whether it is ethical or not, I thought the group that was for censoring advertising sounded a lot like a bunch of Puritans. I also felt somewhat insulted to think that they felt I needed someone to approve what I should be allowed to view in advertising. In fact, American advertising is very bland in many ways in comparison to some European communities. Like any other media outlet, if you donít like it, you can turn the page or shut off the TV. As far as misleading ads, the FTC and other governmental agencies are given the mandate to oversea these areas. Let them do their job and donít try to regulate what I can see.

Posted on May 10 2000, 12:54 PM
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Agree - so much else out there
by Tumara Campbell

I think that if taken in the context of a hypothetical situation, i.e. magazine ads are the only type of ads, then maybe I might agree that there should be more attention given to the subject...maybe even more regulation.

But I don't know of a single "responsible" medium for communicating information about anything to anyone in today's society. People say that magazine ads are damaging because they present false information. Well, the news media can take very accurate information and present it in a way that is very damaging. Even journals and newspapers present their "view" will put a spin on an issue so that it supports what they believe. Why would it be wrong for companies to do this in their advertisements? I guess my point is that you have to question everything and every source nowadays, the credible and not so credible. And regulating magazine ads won't even begin to fix that problem.

Posted on May 10 2000, 05:02 PM
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by R.J. Safranek

Bob you brought up an interesting point about the Puritans. I believe that we should not censor advertising, unless of course they present false information, but that is what the government agencies are for. However this country is notorious for trying to censor sexual related issues. I think that has everything to do with the country being founded by Puritans and other religious groups. Some people still haven't gotten away from that "Puritan" view (Not a comment on the presenting group) and that is why there is such a clamor for censorship. We should be allowed to present a subject in the manner we feel is best suited to bring buyers, if the ad is in bad taste then people will not buy the product and the ad fails and gets pulled.

Posted on May 11 2000, 11:06 AM
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Don't lie...
by Vaishalee Patel

I think that to determine if an advertisement is unethical or not depends on if the advertisement is falsifying information of is not disclosing all of the information about the product. For instance, for cigarette ads, if a woman is entranced by a man smoking, I think there should be some proof/empirical studies that a woman can be mesmorized by a man smoking. Also, the surgeon general's warning on smoking should be on the ad also. If all products would only tell the truth about their product, I think it would be better for everyone, consumers and companies, in the long run. Accordingly, if a consumer is satisfied with your product and you kept all of the promises made in the advertisement, it is more likely that the consumer will buy your product again, a desired result.

Posted on May 10 2000, 12:26 PM
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by Dave Constant

My problem with advertising is that, on occassion, advertisers do 2 things:

1. Stretch the truth: You see these in "Get a Free XXX(Fill in the blank)". In actuality, these adds usually require you to purchase a hundred items and then you get the 101st for free. What a joke. This is usually explained in the fine print. This is unethical.

2. Subliminally try to manipulate you into purchasing the product. (This is along the lines of Vishalee's point. The victims on this scam are usually more mentally challenged individuals. So, in essence, advertisers use their intelligence to take advantage of less intelligent people. This is also unethical.

While these uses of advertising are unethical, I think it is not pragmatic to try to make it illegal. People just need more education that 99% of sales pitches falling into the above 2 categories are complete scams.

Posted on May 11 2000, 09:04 AM
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General vs. specific ads
by Kamen Kolev

After both groups' presentations, I couldn't get a clear view on whether magazine ads are ethical or not.

Both groups just presented specific examples, like ads for cigarettes/alcohol, which are unethical, or ads for non-profits/environmental organizations, which are ethical.

Probably it does not make sense to discuss whether magazine ads in general are ethical or unethical. Companies just use ads as a means to an end, and this end can be either ethical or unethical.

Posted on May 09 2000, 09:09 AM
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by R.J. Safranek

I agree with you about the confusion. But I think it is the means of an advertisement that we can look at as unethical. If an ad misrepresents its product, is dishonest in its claims, or provides false information in other ways then I believe the ad is unethical no matter what it is for.
Is a sexy ad unethical? I don't think so, but there is a fine line between using a sexy ad to grab your attention, and using sex to sell the product. What is that line? I wish that was debated because that is harder to know and I would like to hear others input.

Posted on May 09 2000, 12:52 PM
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